COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, N.I.H., EXTRAMURAL
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Comparison of shoulder range of motion, strength, and playing time in uninjured high school baseball pitchers who reside in warm- and cold-weather climates.

BACKGROUND: There is an assumption that baseball athletes who reside in warm-weather climates experience larger magnitude adaptations in throwing shoulder motion and strength compared with their peers who reside in cold-weather climates.

HYPOTHESES: (1) The warm-weather climate (WWC) group would exhibit more pronounced shoulder motion and strength adaptations than the cold-weather climate (CWC) group, and (2) the WWC group would participate in pitching activities for a greater proportion of the year than the CWC group, with the time spent pitching predicting throwing shoulder motion and strength in both groups.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.

METHODS: One hundred uninjured high school pitchers (50 each WWC, CWC) were recruited. Rotational shoulder motion and isometric strength were measured and participants reported the number of months per year they pitched. To identify differences between groups, t tests were performed; linear regression was used to determine the influence of pitching volume on shoulder motion and strength.

RESULTS: The WWC group pitched more months per year than athletes from the CWC group, with the number of months spent pitching negatively related to internal rotation motion and external rotation strength. The WWC group exhibited greater shoulder range of motion in all planes compared with the CWC group, as well as significantly lower external rotation strength and external/internal rotation strength ratios. There was no difference in internal rotation strength between groups, nor a difference in the magnitude of side-to-side differences for strength or motion measures.

CONCLUSION: Athletes who reside in cold- and warm-weather climates exhibit differences in throwing shoulder motion and strength, related in part to the number of months spent participating in pitching activities. The amount of time spent participating in pitching activities and the magnitude of range of motion and strength adaptations in athletes who reside in warm-weather climates may make these athletes more susceptible to throwing-related injuries.

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